You can find more from Michael Salfino at NESN
Incredible individual performances highlighted Week 2 of the NFL season and we'll cover them and much more in my Scouting Notebook.
So much for Gore (ankle) having lost a step. His performance is even more devastating in distance scoring leagues (and all leagues should factor in length of touchdown). The Niners are a running-back friendly team with their defensive emphasis and conservative play calling. So I'd be holding with Gore. But I would trade Johnson for a more conventional No. 1 running back in leagues that don't factor in catches or length of TD.
Don't worry about the Patriots offense for the same reason you shouldn't have been worried about the Texans. The Jets are monsters now and will destroy your fantasy dreams. Avoid them, but ignore what your stars do against them. Any No. 1 receiver is going to be forced to deal with CB Darrelle Revis(notes), who only has completely shut down Andre Johnson(notes) and Randy Moss(notes) in consecutive weeks.
Clearly the Texans are fine, as Matt Schaub(notes) threw for 350-plus yards and four TDs on the bench in many leagues. Never allow that to happen again. Andre Johnson is unstoppable against corners other than Revis, who plays with a Superman cape.
San Diego is clearly Philip Rivers's(notes) team, though that reality is not enough to keep Norv Turner from blowing games. As my colleague Scott Pianowski said this week in our Breakfast Table, no one takes 12-4 and turns it into 9-7 better than Norv Turner. Not taking a shot into the end zone near pay dirt on third down with 10 seconds left in the first half? Having your QB throw for 436 yards but then going goal-line on third and two with one timeout and 40 seconds left? Staying in it after an incompletion and getting your run stuffed on fourth down to end the game? Pure Norv.
If you can get Rivers, Vincent Jackson(notes) or Antonio Gates(notes) from any remaining doubters, move mountains to do so. Don't touch LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) with a 10-foot pole. But do not think that Darren Sproles(notes) is the handcuff, as he's clearly going to remain situational even when LT is out (which will be often).
Part of being a starting back is durability and Mike Bell(notes), who's never held the job, sprained his MCL at the end of that game and is likely out at least a month. So, Pierre Thomas(notes) gets his job back next week for sure. Reggie Bush(notes) scored against a stacked front, but continues to try to outrun the defense around the edge like he's still playing against Arizona State.
Jake Delhomme(notes) passed his test, barely. He's good enough for Steve Smith, but must start generating more points. Carolina can help by utilizing DeAngelo Williams(notes) more in the passing game, where he shines when given a chance.
Scoring points is Job No. 1 for quarterbacks. Job No. 2 is protecting the football. Jason Campbell(notes) of the Redskins keeps his QB rating healthy by doing the latter but rarely the former. After three field goals at home against the Rams, rotate out all your Redskins.
Mark Sanchez(notes) is going to keep getting better and he's about fantasy neutral now. So expect Jerricho Cotchery(notes) to register 80 catches for 1,100 yards and eight TDs. Don't play Sanchez though until you see the Jets take the training wheels off for a full game. He had his safety helmet and pads on, too, the entire first half.
Lance Moore(notes) (hamstring) having just three harmless catches before getting hurt shows I've been wrong about him, but he shouldn't have cost more than a late six/early seventh round pick – hardly crippling. While it seems I'm also wrong about Marques Colston(notes) not being a top-tier receiver, trade him if anyone will pay you that price.
The Bengals defense is good and the team is a good setup for a back, in this case Cedric Benson(notes). They held Greg Jennings(notes) without a catch, just stunning for Jennings owners. The Packers running game was non-factor, with Aaron Rodgers(notes) nearly leading the team in rushing. Those with lots of reserve space should be speculating on Brandon Jackson(notes) (5-foot-10, 220, 5.5 yards per carry last year), recovering from a significant ankle sprain.
Michael Salfino’s work has appeared in USA Today’s Sports Weekly, RotoWire, dozens of newspapers nationwide and most recently throughout Comcast SportsNet and NESN. Michael also covers the Jets and Giants each week for SNY.tv.
- Norv Turner